Some People (myself included), feel that Witch Bolt is sub par.

I was thinking of changing it so that increasing the spell level also increases the persistent damage, as well as the initial damage.

This would change the last text to be:

At Higher Levels:The initial and persistent damages both increase by 1d12 for each slot level above 1st.

Would this cause any balance issues?

## Best Answer

## Yes, this is overpowered

Witchbolt does not require an attack roll for the ongoing damage. Increasing by 1d12 for each level would allow a 5th level caster to deal 30d12 damage, 27 of which is without an attack roll or saving throw, with a single 3rd level slot. This is very strong. Remember that Warlocks will always be upcasting it so allowing increased ongoing damage significantly increases damage output.

As a compromise I would suggest increasing ongoing damage for every second or third slot above first. This is still a decent damage bump but not quite so game breaking.

## Math breakdown

Assume character of 5th level, CHA 20(+5) and Prof +3

Eldritch Blast w/ Agonizing Blast + Hex:Witch Bolt (RAW)1 Bolt per round, +8 on first hit then automatic, 3d12 then 1d12

Average Damage vs AC: \begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|} \hline AC& 12 & 15 & 18 & 21 \\ \hline First Round & 16.575 & 13.65 & 10.725 & 7.8 \\ \hline DPM & 66.3 & 54.6 & 42.9 & 31.2 \\ \hline DPM* & 78 & 78 & 78 & 78 \\ \hline \end{array}

Witch Bolt (Scaling every level)1 Bolt per round, +8 on first hit then automatic, 3d12 then 3d12

Average Damage vs AC: \begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|} \hline AC& 12 & 15 & 18 & 21 \\ \hline First Round & 16.575 & 13.65 & 10.725 & 7.8 \\ \hline DPM & 165.75 & 136.5 & 107.25 & 78 \\ \hline DPM* & 195 & 195 & 195 & 195\\ \hline \end{array}

Witch Bolt (Scaling every second level)1 Bolt per round, +8 on first hit then automatic, 3d12 then 2d12

Average Damage vs AC: \begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|} \hline AC& 12 & 15 & 18 & 21 \\ \hline First Round & 16.575 & 13.65 & 10.725 & 7.8 \\ \hline DPM & 116.025 & 95.55 & 75.075 & 54.6 \\ \hline DPM* & 136.5 & 136.5 & 136.5 & 136.5 \\ \hline \end{array}

Another comparison at 9th Level. Now casting in a 5th level spell slot

Witch Bolt (Scaling every level)1 Bolt per round, +8 on first hit then automatic, 5d12 then 5d12

Average Damage vs AC: \begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|} \hline AC& 12 & 15 & 18 & 21 \\ \hline First Round & 29.25 & 24.375 & 19.5 & 14.625 \\ \hline DPM & 292.5 & 243.75 & 195 & 146.25 \\ \hline DPM* & 325 & 325 & 325 & 325 \\ \hline \end{array}

Witch Bolt (Scaling every second level)1 Bolt per round, +8 on first hit then automatic, 5d12 then 3d12

Average Damage vs AC: \begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|} \hline AC& 12 & 15 & 18 & 21 \\ \hline First Round & 29.25 & 24.375 & 19.5 & 14.625 \\ \hline DPM & 187.2 & 156 & 124.8 & 93.6 \\ \hline DPM* & 208 & 208 & 208 & 208 \\ \hline \end{array}

* Assuming Witch Bolt hits for DPM calculations. Allowing for miss chance significantly skews data. It is very difficult to accurately show the average damage for witch bolt as is in an 'all or nothing' type spell. Showing actually average damage would not be representative as it either does full damage or none.

It is not representative to take the actually average values from the middle rows as this assumes you do nothing with your turn after you miss with Witch Bolt. Instead you would either cast is again or revert to the Eldritch Blast DPR for the rest of the minute.

## Summary

As can be seen from the tables above, this change doesn't significantly alter damage output against low or medium AC targets. The balance problem is the massive bump to damage against high AC targets. In the last example the problem only gets worse as the spell slots increase.

In general if a homebrew changes a relatively poor spell into a must have damage spell it is likely overpowered. I would suggest play testing the scaling with every second level option. While a decent bump over RAW it is really just bringing a weak spell in line with stronger alternatives, which was the intent of this homebrew.